Saturday, February 07, 2015

Maximize Your ROI: Orange Boots

It might be the request I receive most frequently: "I just bought ______ and I don't know how to wear it!"

As much as I'm a big fan of planning purchases and having a deliberate wardrobe scheme, I'm not immune to the reality of the "coup de coeur" - that French kick in the heart that screams to you and will not be denied. And I think that these impulses that overwhelm can be a good way to indulge in an accent color, or a change of wardrobe direction.

Take, for example, these stunning boots:

Studded boots - Annie

These are oh so NOT my style, but I can see the appeal. And one of you, dear friend, fell for their charms.

Now what to do?  I have a plan. Of COURSE I have a plan!

  • Consider, while you're still carrying these lovelies with you, looking for a scarf, or a pair of earrings, or some other accessory that works beautifully with your trophy purchase. They don't have to be dye-lot matched, but they should look like they share DNA. The point of this is to be able to pull on another accessory at the same time that you wear your boots, so that the addition of (in this case) orange looks deliberate, rather than random.  (if you've ever thought of going wild and getting an Hermes scarf, this is the time. They are CRAZY about orange...)
  • Think about a cardigan in this color family. Cardigan are easy to pull over other items, and will again give you that "I meant to do this" look. (House of Fraser has a lot of cardigans, as does Yoox)
  • A sweater, or a dress. I don't think that buying a garment specifically to leverage a "grail" purchase is a bad idea. Maybe you won't be wearing orange for the rest of your life, but for this season, and maybe next season, it will be a frequently-worn signature.
  • Or just break down and buy an entire outfit. The world will NOT come to an end, so long as you have the budget bandwidth to accommodate your splurge. Wear the outfit constantly. Enjoy every second. If people have seen you in this outfit before, so what? You are not under contract to wear different clothes every time someone sees you. Your friends won't mind, and anybody who DOES mind shouldn't get a vote...

A few ideas:

Scarf – Hermes, sweater – Tomas Maier, tan twill trousers – Valentino, tweed dress – 
Dolce and Gabbana, cardigan – Kristina Ti, studded boots - Annie

How smart would that Hermes scarf be if you had a bit of olive green in your wardrobe?

Acrylic bracelet – Caipora Jewellery, sweater – MSGM, trousers – Gucci, dress – Preen Line,
 scarf – Chan Luu, studded boots - Annie

Orange bead necklace – Sumalee Nawakul, tweed sweater – Tommy Hilfiger, plaid trousers – 
Stella Jean, dress – Issa, orange buffalo horn earrings – Maria-Xuan, studded boots - Annie

When I was working on this, I noticed that some brands tend to work a lot in one color palette; Stella Jean (plaid pants, above) has a lot of clothing available in the brown and orange range, and Issa (dress above) has a handful of dresses available in orange prints. What does this mean for you? If you see something you love, look at other items in that brand! And if you see something that's close, look at that designer's other items; they may have something more to your taste. This narrows down the WIDE world of shopping a little bit!

And the discount sites like The Outnet and Yoox cycle through things on a daily basis. Literally, it can be worth taking a quick look every day if you have something specific in mind...

I have another pair of shoes to work with, and a handbag that isn't getting the love and mileage it deserves; do you have a closet orphan that you really love and want to wear more often? Let me know about it - send a link or a photograph, if possible.


PS - For more in the Maximize Your ROI series, check out the following articles:


  1. When I first saw these booties, my immediate reaction was 'I would never, ever....' But as I scrolled down, I was almost sold. You have come up once again with a winning combination. Enjoy your weekend.

  2. Beautiful combos, Janice! Well played.

  3. I wear autumn tones so burnt orange is an easy add to my style :)

  4. Brilliant!


  5. I am loving the bright oranges you have so artfully displayed here...did you by any chance check out my crazy new pants post?

  6. Hi, well, this is a no brainer for me. Orange and shades thereof are staples for me. So no issue to fit into my wardrobe. Now, if I fell in love with a taupe/gray something, it would be a big problem.

    Deb from Vancouver

  7. Thank you so much, Janice! These booties came in neutral colors, but I was drawn to the orange. Thank you for showing me simple ways I can integrate them into my weekly round (since even I wouldn't wear these lovelies every day). You are the best!!!

  8. Orange is not a color I wear nor is it easily worn. That said, I picked up a bargain sale orange scarf, the color of the Chan Luu you picture and have worn it very successfully with neutrals. It was a whim and after I bought it I made myself use it. Funny thing is, I receive a compliment every time I wear it. I get the feeling the bold color & bravery to wear it attracts the compliments.

  9. Happy dance here, love love orange and already have the loafers, necklaces, skirt and twin set and plenty more in the fabric stash. So glad it is going to be around for a while. Thank you for sharing your great plans as well, more to think about.

  10. Well, I guess I'm the sole dissenter here on this one. I love the concept, just not the color. For some reason, orange, real orange, is discordant for me. It is a nervous color, I have read in color theory! But I applaud anyone who loves to wear it!

  11. Even though orange will never be my color, I think that the tricks for making a piece work in one's wardrobe apply to any purchase. Yes, I am thinking of my beautiful brown boots! When we talk about wearing the same outfit repeatedly, I am reminded of my daughter's prom dress, which she wore 2 years in a row. When I questioned this, she replied "when you have a dress you love, why buy another?" Good point. Also, most people don't pay enough attention to remember when you last wore a specific item; they will only remember that they have seen it before. Mary

    1. Your daughter has a great head on her shoulders! Amazing that a teen would even consider wearing the same gown to two proms.

  12. Love the boots! Being a woman with wide calves, ankle boots are my kind of boots. So cute (including the other colorways)! I did initially imagine that you were going to do an 'accessory family' on the boots and you have kind of done that and more. Thanks again for your inspiration. Carol S

  13. i truly dislike orange, but would wear those boots in a heartbeat - wonder if they come in a color i do like? But, i could totally handle a black outfit with those books and the orange necklace. Totally!

  14. Janice, an off topic request! I realize that you select garments to illustrate your posts based on many factors not including price, but I would love a post or series of posts about shopping on a budget. (And when I say budget, I am thinking small as in $175.00 per month for two adults, and that figure includes dry cleaning, shoe repair, and alterations.) If this is outside the realm of your blog, I will understand, but it would be both helpful and interesting to read your thoughts about this subject.

  15. REALLY gorgeous options although I'm not a huge fan of orange, I was completely sold!!!

    Janice, do you have any advice for packing for a cruise where you always dress for dinner, have formal nights, but could be visiting the Vatican one day, lolling on a Greek beach another, and off to the mosques and bazaars later in the trip. I'm looking at a two week Med cruise and a third week split between Paris and Rome in September and do not want to pack my entire closet!!! THANK YOU!!!!

    1. I second this request!

  16. I am the Warren Buffet of clothes buying. The boots are only about $70 (on sale), But then I would not go onto spend many hundreds on Gucci pants to take them out! They would have to go with at least 3 things I already own, Since most women already have grey trousers and blue jeans, that's two. I say go for it but not if you have to buy new stuff strictly for them.